INDIANAPOLIS--Let's face it, when it comes to football fans, everyone believes they can do a better job than the current head coach of their favorite team. Now, EA Sports is giving fans the ability to step behind the reigns of any NFL team and see for themselves what the challenges of the job are on and off the field. NFL Head Coach 09, coming out this fall for next gen consoles, features Super Bowl Champion Tony Dungy on the cover. (The first NFL Head Coach for PS2 and Xbox featured current Raleigh resident Bill Cowher.)
EA Sports showcased the new game in Indianapolis as part of the NFL Scouting Combine, which happens to be held on Dungy's home turf. In addition to getting a first look at the next gen game (which does away with the cumbersome navigation of the original), Dungy spent some time talking about the role of games in the NFL today. While the NFL Combine is closed to all media, agents and just about anyone outside of official NFL team personnel (you actually experience the action much better from your home TV), it served as the perfect setting for the new videogame's scouting system. As any NFL head coach will tell you (at least the good ones), a Super Bowl Championship is earned in the scouting of new players.
NFL Head Coach 09 offers four different layers to the scouting of every college player, which requires a lot of legwork for the coach, but will end up making the decisions at the NFL Draft a lot easier. Unless a recruit is scouted all four ways, their true player ratings will not be unlocked and high picks could go to the wrong player. While there's plenty of information out there for this year's draft class, this will be especially important for future fictional draft classes, since the game allows you to coach your team for years to build a dynasty.
Although it's still very early in development, this game is chock full of options that will satisfy any gridiron fan. The game actually offers the largest features set of any EA Sports game to date, and that includes those massive Madden Dynasty options. More importantly, however, is the visual and navigation upgrades that have enabled anyone to jump into this sim. If there are aspects of the game you're not interested in, your virtual assistants, coaches and general manager can be assigned to handle those tasks, which lowers the barrier of entry for this title. In essence, you can jump in and focus on the fun stuff--whatever that may be for you--whether it's calling plays on the sidelines or tendering free agent contracts. Everything that an NFL coach deals with on a daily basis has been incorporated into this game, with the one exception of making it "fun." Now you'll have no one but yourself to yell at when your team fails to make the playoffs.